The Corner

Support for Marriage Surging in Washington State

Bill Gates just gave $500,000. That’s on top of the $100,000 he donated this summer.  Mayor Bloomberg chipped in with a $250,000 “match” gift.

A new Obama super PAC? No, it’s the money guys across the country banding together to buy passage of gay marriage in the state of Washington.

So far, $11 million has been spent on the campaign, with the “bulk of it spent by gay marriage supporters” according to the Associated Press. Supporters of Referendum 74 have raised nearly $11 million, more than five times as much as opponents of gay marriage. 

The pro-gay marriage advantages don’t stop there. Major corporations just pooled their resources to take out a full-page ad announcing support for gay marriage

Executives from leading Washington businesses — including iconic Northwest brands such as Costco, Nordstrom, Microsoft, REI,, and many others — have signed onto a full page ad in this morning’s Sunday Seattle Times, endorsing Referendum 74’s same-sex marriage law. 

The Seattle Times corporation announced it was donating $90,000 in in-kind newspaper ads to support gay marriage (following in the footsteps, but upping the ante of Reuters in Minnesota, which corporately endorsed gay marriage).#more#

But despite an unprecedented all-stop-pulled-out push by elites, both financial and media, a new Elway poll shows that gay-marriage opponents have virtually closed the gap; opposition to R-74 has leapt ten points in the last week, since opponents went up on the air with new ads crafted by Prop 8 genius Frank Schubert (full disclosure: He is the political consultant for the organization I founded, the National Organization for Marriage). See e.g. this ad. Or this even more powerful one.

Support for R-74 is now up only 49 to 45 percent among likely voters, a statistical dead heat and huge swing from the 14-point advantage gay marriage held in September, when 53 percent of Washington voters told the pollster they would support R-74.  

I’ve seen this kind of swing against gay marriage before, and I would say I’m not surprised: Except that this time the push for gay marriage is so monumentally huge, the money odds so monstrously lopsided, and the fight so deep in such a secular blue state, I had my doubts. Silly me.

The amazing thing is despite spending a reported $9.5 million, and owning the airwaves uncontested for months, the pro-gay-marriage side has not managed to move public support for gay marriage. All Bill Gates’s money and all Starbucks’s alleged Seattle cache, may not be enough to push gay marriage over the finish line.

And polls typically understate opposition to gay marriage. University of Washington poll director Matt Barreto noted last week that in the vote on civil unions in 2009, his polling showed the measure up by 17 points, but it ultimately only won by just over 6 percentage points.

The stubbornness, or I should say good sense, of the American people on the marriage issue has been extraordinary: Yes, live and let live, but don’t redesign marriage.

Look for a lot of shocked pundits on election night in November. Again.

You can donate to any of the marriage-referendum fights here

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